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January Nangunyari-Namiridali

(Australia circa 1901 – 1972)

Language group
Kunwinjku, Arnhem region
Place of origin
Croker IslandWestern Arnhem LandNorthern TerritoryAustralia
Media category
Bark painting
Materials used
natural pigments on bark

73.0 x 44.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2005
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

January Nangunyari-Namiridali was among the group of artists – including Yirawala, Paddy Compass Namatbara and Jimmy Midjawmidjaw – who were working at Mindjilang (Croker Island) in the 1960s. This group of artists were some of the first artists from western Arnhem Land to be recognised and collected. His works from this time, including this painting, were collected by Karel Kupka, the most astute European collector of that era.

The subject appears to be mimihs or possibly wangarra spirit beings, two men and three women, singing, and is a rare example of the old style of western Arnhem Land bark painting before rarrk (crosshatching) was introduced. This style of painting appears to represent variations of ceremonial body paint and is derived from paintings on rock shelters, caves and galleries found in the Arnhem Land escarpment.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005

Bibliography (1)

Hetti Perkins, Crossing country: the alchemy of western Arnhem Land art, Sydney, 2004, 39 (colour illus.), 118, 228.